Heavyweights lead buying by directors as disposals subside

Peter Woo increases holdings of Wheelock after the developer posted a jump in first-half profits

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 September, 2012, 1:26am

Buying of their own company shares by directors surged for a second week, with 53 companies filing 282 purchases worth HK$290 million with the stock exchange for the first week of September.

The figures were sharply up from the previous week's 31 companies that disclosed 176 purchases worth a total of HK$140 million.

Selling, on the other hand, plunged, with only nine companies reporting 35 disposals worth HK$146.9 million. The figures were sharply down from the previous week's 14 companies that reported 73 disposals worth HK$244.7 million.

Hong Kong's heavyweights took the spotlight during the week, with chairman Lee Shau-kee picking up more shares of blue-chip property developer Henderson Land Development, buying 834,000 shares from August 30 to September 4 at an average of HK$48 each.

The purchases brought his total acquisitions since January to 19.38 million shares worth HK$837 million at an average of HK$43.19 each. The stock closed higher from his last purchase price at HK$49.75 on Friday.

There were also purchases by chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching in Wheelock & Co, chairman William Fung Kwok-lun in Li & Fung and an executive director in Television Broadcasts.

Woo resumed buying shares of Wheelock after the developer announced a jump in first-half earnings on August 24, with 549,000 shares purchased on August 31 at HK$29.51 each. The trade increased his holdings to 1.21 billion shares or 59.88 per cent of the issued capital.

He had bought heavily before the results as well, with 8.7 million shares purchased from March 23 to July 5 at HK$23.45 to HK$31.45 each or an average of HK$25.84 each. The purchases since March were made on the back of a rise in the share price since December 2011 from HK$17.96.

Investors should note that Woo's purchases since August 2011 are his first on-market trades based on filings on the exchange since 1993.

The stock closed at HK$30.20 on Friday.

Fung bought 1 million shares in Li & Fung on September 4 at HK$11.91 each. The trade increased his holdings to 2.59 billion shares or 31.05 per cent.

He previously acquired 20.1 million shares from August 10 to 14 at an average of HK$12.79 each and the acquisitions were made after the stock fell from HK$15.98 on August 9.

Investors should note that the stock tends to go up whenever the chairman buys shares, and it has risen by an average of 20 per cent three months following his acquisitions based on 32 purchases since 1994.

Fung is one of four directors that have bought the company's shares this quarter. Chief executive Bruce Rockowitz bought 3 million shares from August 10 to 14 at an average of HK$12.72 each, which boosted his stake to 96.67 million shares or 1.15 per cent.

Independent non-executive director Martin Tang Yue-nien bought 20,000 shares on August 13 at HK$12.74 each, which increased his holdings by 50 per cent to 60,000 shares. He previously acquired an initial 20,000 shares in May 2010 at an average of HK$36.10 each.

Lastly, independent non-executive director Paul Edward Selway-Swift purchased 40,000 shares from August 10 to 14 at an average of HK$12.76 each, which boosted his stake by 56 per cent to 112,000 shares.

The blue chip closed at HK$12.16 on Friday.

Executive director Mark Lee Po-on recorded his first on-market trades in media firm TVB since June 2011, buying 188,000 shares from September 4 to 5 at an average of HK$53.85 each.

The trades increased his holdings by 75 per cent to 438,000 shares or 0.1 per cent.

The acquisitions were made on the back of a 19 per cent rise in the share price since March from HK$45.25. The counter is also sharply up since October 2011 from HK$37.94.

The stock closed higher from Lee's last purchase price at HK$55.75 on Friday.

Robert Halili is managing director of Asia Insider